APRIL 6, 2000: ILH sets roster limit for football

On this date in 2000, the ILH passed a rule limiting football teams to a roster limit of 65 without telling the coaches or athletic directors.

Saint Louis boss Cal Lee vowed to fight it. A year later, Lee’s second stint as head coach was over, but the rule went away before the season started.

“Isn’t participation in extracurricular activities what we want?” Lee asked. “To me it’s wrong to limit participation.”

Iolani headmaster Val Iwashita headed the task force that came up with the rule, saying that any more than 65 players is ‘totally unnecessary.’

Lee proposed being able to enter two football teams into the league, with Saint Louis, Iolani, Kamehameha and Punahou in Division I and Saint Louis B, Kamehameha B, Damien and Pac-Five vying for the league’s Division II title. ILH executive secretary earlier pointed out that league bylaws do not allow two varsity teams in football.

Kamehameha athletic director Blane Gaison, who is now the ILH executive secretary, said his school would field two intermediate teams. The ILH did away with JV football in 1999 when Pac-Five, Punahou and Iolani dropped their programs.

“I feel bad for the kids who won’t be able to suit up and represent their school,” Gaison said.

Punahou coach Kale Ane also didn’t like the principals’ attempt at parity in football. He pointed out that his school had 178 boys and 168 girls on its track and field teams.

“I hate to penalize kids; that’s what this does,” Ane said. “We don’t do it in other sports.”

The roster limits lasted only one season, but Lee had to enjoy the fruits of his fighting from away from the sideline. Lee retired after one year under the new rule, winning the ILH but lost to Kahuku in the state final. Quarterbacks coach Vince Passas said in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that the roster limit was part of what caused Lee to walk away.

“That 65-player limit when you’ve got 100, what can you tell them?” Passas said. “Sorry, we can’t take you to the Stadium?”


  1. Ldub Twenty Owl Three Sixteen April 6, 2020 2:07 pm

    Wouldn’t be a shock if this happens again pretty soon

  2. Whatsamattau April 6, 2020 2:28 pm

    They should set Football with limits like 70 players on Varsity
    and give the schools a season to adjust, so the other players have enough time to transfer. St. Louis can survive with 3 deep at each position. This will never happen though. Lucky we have football this season…

  3. HD April 7, 2020 8:18 am

    No matter how much players you have on your team I promise you only 11 can play at a time. Saint Louis having 100 players is not their secret to success🤷🏼‍♂️

  4. Hmmm? April 7, 2020 11:54 am

    HD…I agree..St.Louis hoards too much talent.
    All-Staters waiting to their Sr. Seasons to play is crazy, but that is the sports world we live in today.

  5. seniorcitizen808 April 8, 2020 2:44 pm

    This guy always crying about not having the advantages so he takes the low road and walks away. Just like in 2015 when he walked off the field and didnt accept the 2nd place trophy against Kahuku.

  6. ILH April 8, 2020 4:49 pm

    seniorcitizen808, you don’t know how good of a man he is, because you either was not good to play for him, or your your Education was not high enough to go there, plain Jealous my friend. you do a limit for 1 sport, not fair, you do it for all sports then it’s fair.

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  8. STL Alum April 23, 2020 5:26 am

    Iolani spearheaded this roster limit rule to undermine the 3 ILH powerhouses while they went on to dominate Division II winning 8 State Div 2 Championships instead of competing at the highest level. Don’t forget Damien, Pac Five and Iolani voted to split up the 6 team ILH at the Varsity level (which was absurd) that same year while limiting its games against the Big 3 teams to one game each per season. Father Bray’s One Team competed at the highest level while Look’s Me, Myself and I teams feasted on smaller ILH teams and undermanned public schools for 2 decades. Iolani also did away with its JV during this time and had its held back 9th graders crack the ILH’s other freshman teams. So rigged and so sad 200 plus wins rings hollow.

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